Dave Grohl has said that the fifth release from his post-Nirvana vanity project and hobby band mushroomed into a double album -- with one 10-song electric rock disc, one 10-song acoustic disc, and a 20-minute Dual Disc video about the creation of an epic he compares to Led Zeppelin's "Physical Graffiti" and Husker Du's "Zen Arcade" -- when he realized that a single CD couldn't portray the group's depth and musical complexity.

In fact, one verse and one chorus of almost any Foo Fighters song is all that have ever been necessary to grasp the entirety of this band's musical vision. Grohl is capable of crafting effective melodies, but his biggest problems are that he drives them into the ground through stultifying repetition, and he has nothing to say lyrically. His "Moon in June" rhymes have always sounded like last-minute improvisations at the mike.

Forget about "Physical Graffiti" or "Zen Arcade"; the rock half of "In Your Honor" pales in comparison to the multi-textured efforts of "In Utero" by his old band, and the acoustic disc is more James Taylor wannabe than "Nirvana Unplugged in New York." And guests such as Norah Jones, Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age do little to elevate the proceedings.

Early in their career, Foo Fighters seemed like a gift: Sure, its infectious rock songs were simplistic, unoriginal and dumb, but Kurt Cobain was gone, Dave's ditties rocked hard enough and sounded good on the radio, and he had a lot more right to craft cardboard grunge anthems than, say, Bush. But the band has overstayed its welcome. It's time for Grohl to retire this group and concentrate on his celebrity drumming cameos with the likes of Probot and Queens of the Stone Age.



Rock legend, producer extraordinaire (U2, Talking Heads, David Bowie), Coldplay hero (he guests on "Low" from its new album "X&Y") and godfather of ambient music Brian Eno hasn't made an album of primarily vocal material since his brilliant 1990 collaboration with John Cale on "Wrong Way Up."

But the 57-year-old intellectual maintains that he never abandoned singing -- he enjoys crooning Bowie ditties in the shower. And with the technology of digital keyboards having progressed to the point where someone can hit one key and call themselves an ambient artist, he's realized that the bigger challenge today is crafting good, old-fashioned pop songs.

These 11 tunes don't break new ground for Eno, with washes of ambient sound augmenting catchy but minimalist sequenced melody lines and his gentle, soothing vocals (there's little hint of the rock frenzy of '70s classics such as "Needles in the Camel's Eye" and "King's Lead Hat"). Tracks such as "Going Unconscious" and "Caught Between" cross the line from lulling to snooze-inducing, but others such as the opening "This" and the violin-adorned "How Many Worlds" show that he remains a master of crafting enigmatic soundscapes and hypnotizing drones that make you want to sing along.



From a sort of low-rent version of the genre-hopping Roots -- minus the amazing musical virtuosity and sharp political edge -- the Los Angeles hip-hop/funk/R&B/worldbeat band the Black Eyed Peas morphed into a more potent hybrid pop group with the breakthrough success of their last album, 2003's "Elephunk," and a fruitful association with Justin Timberlake, who returns the favor here with a guest slot on "My Style." On "Monkey Business," they assure themselves a place beside the Neptunes as the catchiest and best "hip-pop" band today, and they deliver one of the best party discs of the summer.

The quartet found its secret weapon midway through their last album, when they linked up with sultry female frontwoman Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson, formerly of the girl group Wild Orchid. Celebrity cameos abound -- in addition to Timberlake, James Brown, Q-Tip, Jack Johnson and Sting also drop by -- but Fergie steals the show, and she gives us an instant classic with "My Humps," a good-humored homage to womanly curves that seems like the long-awaited feminine response to "Baby Got Back" from Sir Mix-A-Lot during the last golden age of bubblegum rap.

The Black Eyed Peas display plenty of hubris in the CD jacket, spending several pages listing their first-class requirements for air travel, backstage dining, hotel accommodations and such, while offering a definition of "Monkey Business" that excoriates anyone who'd view their music as "product." But the group sarcastically mocks the "bling-bling" lifestyle in "Gone Going." Having fun is the order of the day throughout these 15 effervescent and positively giddy jams, and the album leaves the impression of a hard-working bunch of veterans who have finally arrived -- enjoying the ride and laughing at themselves all the way.